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Who do you blame more for the murder of King Duncan?<p>Who do you blame more for...

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nerd4 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 30, 2008 at 4:03 PM via web

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Who do you blame more for the murder of King Duncan?

<p>Who do you blame more for the murder of King Duncan-Macbeth or Lady Macbeth?</p>

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pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 30, 2008 at 5:45 PM (Answer #2)

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Technically, Macbeth does the actual murder, but perhaps he would not have gone through with the deed if Lady Macbeth had not manipulated him into the act.

Lady Macbeth won't listen to Macbeth when he tells her that he has decided to not go through with the murder. 

 But then, he does go through with the murder, even though his conscience is tormenting him before he murders the king, so it would suggest that Lady Macbeth's accusations against her husband not being a man unless he kills the king were very persuasive. 

In my view, I would say that Macbeth is more responsible for the murder because I don't believe in the concept that someone else can make you do something that you don't want to do, especially something as serious as murder. 

Macbeth wanted to murder the king, Lady Macbeth gave him a push when he wavered from the plan.  If he really didn't want to kill the king, he would not have gone through with it. She certainly has a certain control over him, but he did act alone.

I would say that Macbeth bears 55% of the responsibility and Lady Macbeth 45%.

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terafrayne | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted May 1, 2008 at 4:39 PM (Answer #3)

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Macbeth, completely. An individual who persuades another individual to commit a heinous act ultimately bears no culpability. The arguments that Lady Macbeth uses are weak. She tells Macbeth that he's not a real man because he doesn't keep his word. She says that she'd be willing to dash the brains of her baby before she breaks her word. She also says that she would view her husband as a coward if he doesn't go through with it. She also uses her sexual prowess to convince him to go through with it. She also caters to his lust for power. None of these arguments hold up. The fact that he caves in just shows that he lacks a moral backbone. Interestingly, later in the play he becomes more capable of committing heinous of acts without any guilt; yet, Lady Macbeth loses her mind because her conscience wears her down. She can never wash the blood off her hands. But King Duncan can never get enough blood. There is a total psychological reversal that takes place between the husband and wife. I love it!

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jilllessa | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted May 1, 2008 at 6:06 PM (Answer #4)

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I have to agree with terafrayne on this one.  Each individual is responsible for their own actions.  Lady Macbeth could never have convinced Macbeth if he had not taken such heed to write to her about the witches and their prophecy.  He fell to the temptation all by himself.  You can compare it to the story of Adam and Eve.  Eve is even more involved in Adam's temptation to sin than Lady Macbeth.  She is the first one to fall to temptation and she is the one who tempts Adam but God holds Adam at least equally responsible for his sin as Eve and both are punished by eviction from the Garden of Eden.  Macbeth could not lay the blame for the murders on Lady Macbeth, although she too is guilty.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 2, 2008 at 7:23 AM (Answer #5)

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Tell that to the judge.  Accessories to murder get punished, also.  Without Lady Macbeth, the idea of murdering Duncan would never have been entertained by Macbeth himself.  He loved the old man too much, and Macbeth also loved his "golden boy" image. 

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link5592 | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 2, 2009 at 2:48 AM (Answer #6)

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personally i think that Macbeth must have had the desires dep within his heart after all the witches knew his deepest desires so therefore brought them to the brim of his thoughts Macbeth wanted to be king so the witches opened a path for him in a sense. Where as Macbeth sends a letter to Lady Macbeth which is not a clever idea he acctually asks her to tempt him in a sense if he did not think of it he wont of sent the letter in the frist place

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frizzyperm | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted April 2, 2009 at 3:09 AM (Answer #7)

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Macbeth is briefly tempted by regicde, but he rejects it as an immoral action. He desires to be king (this is not wrong) and when he is given believable, magical promises of his future kingship he is temporarily hot-headed. But he soon realises killing Duncan is wrong and he rejects the idea.

When his wife discovers his change of purpose she explodes at him and uses every female dark art to make him do something he doesn't want to do. She completely bullies him into it.

Of course, legally, Macbeth is guilty of first degree murder. But Macbeth is not a courtroom drama, it is a human drama. It is Lady Macbeth who is the ultimate force behind the King's murder. Macbeth is the reluctant accomplice. She is the prime mover. It is her immorality that sanctions the foul deed.

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sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 2, 2009 at 3:30 AM (Answer #8)

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Ok, just to play devil's advocate, lets blame the witches.  They set the path in motion, telling Macbeth that he is going to be king.  They start him thinking about the idea, which leads him to share the idea with his wife, which leads her to push him in the direction he - and it would appear the witches - want him to go.  Supporting this is scene Shakespeare includes of the witches casting a spell: 

The weird sisters, hand in hand,
Posters of the sea and land,
Thus do go about, about:
Thrice to thine and thrice to mine
And thrice again, to make up nine.
Peace! the charm's wound up.

This is just before Macbeth and Banquo enter.  What is the charm?  There are certainly nine murders that happen in the play - perhaps we can blame all the deaths on the witches and their spells?  Consider that defense in court.  Not temporary insanity, but temporary super-natural-ness.

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frizzyperm | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted April 2, 2009 at 5:12 AM (Answer #9)

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Didhe witches change the future or merely prophesy it?

I don't think you can 'blame the witches' in any satisfying way. They are a dramatic device and their fortune-telling is an impossibility in reality. You might as well blame fate or destiny. If we want to look at the Macbeths and their moral actions, the witches are simply a starting gun. The witches 'cut to the chase' and focus the play to a simple dramatic storyline. 

They offer Macbeth the promise of kingship. But they never said he had to kill the king to get it. Macbeth could have just let the prophesy come true without getting blood on his hands.

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j-e-s-s-i-e | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 29, 2010 at 6:07 PM (Answer #10)

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well i think it was macbeths fault because he was a weak character anyway (although he is ambitious and brave) and if it wasnt for his ambition and weakness then it wouldnt of happened i dont think . He lets his wife control him into doing what she wants , i know macbeth didnt want to kill the king for his own satisfaction but he still did . i put the blame on him And macbeths weakness starts taking over his guilt because he is feeling guilt into murdering duncan
:D ThankYouu .

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